Category Archives: Topaz Photo Software

Topaz Clarity and Highlight Recovery in Lightroom

In 2006 I captured 6 images with my Canon 20D and used autopano pro to stitch them together and process what I thought was an amazing image of Hopi Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  When I look at what I can do with the new software the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song come to mind “Times They Are A-Changin‘”

Dawn of a new day - Hopi Point, South Rim Grand Canyon

Dawn of a new day – Hopi Point, South Rim Grand Canyon

This is the image processed in 2006 with all the latest technology available.

Original image processed in 2006

Original image processed in 2006

When processing new images with the new software available in Topaz and Lightroom I think of images I need to revisit. In this image I was able to bring back the highlight in the sun’s rays bursting through the storm clouds with the Highlight recovery tool in Lightroom. In the early versions of Adobe I was not able to bring back the highlights. Using the Shadow Recovery tool I was also able to bring out more detail in the shadow area.

Highlight and Shadows recovered in Lightroom

Highlight and Shadows recovered in Lightroom

Then to add the finishing touches I used Topaz Clarity to bring back the mood of the stormy October morning that I shared with fellow photographer Darren Plant and my brother Robert.

Dawn of a new day - Hopi Point, South Rim Grand Canyon

Dawn of a new day – Hopi Point, South Rim Grand Canyon

The reason I decided to teach workshops is that I have found that these mornings have more meaning to me when shared.

“A journey shared is a journey remembered”

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To check locations and dates for this year’s Italian and other Location Workshops click here


The Lens Correction tool can correct a number of common camera lens distortion flaws

One of the ways you can use the Lens Correction tool is to correct Vertical distortions in a portrait. Open the raw image in Camera Raw select the Lens Correction Pallet and then click on the Manual tab to use the transform sliders. In this image I used the Vertical slider to bring back proper perspective to the image.

Lens Correction Tool

Lens Correction Tool

The Lens Correction tool can correct a number of common camera lens distortion flaws such as barrel or pincushion distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting.

Finished Cropped Image

Finished Cropped Image

I set the vertical slider adjustment at +47 to tilt the image back and eliminate the perspective distortion. To correct the darker edges I set the Lens Vignetting slider at +51 which blended the exposure of the perimeter of the image with the center of the image.

The Lens Correction tool can be used in Camera Raw where I processed this image or in CS6 under Filter > Distort > Lens Correction. This tool can correct a number of common camera lens distortion flaws such as barrel distortion, chromatic aberration, vignette, and perspective flaws. In my screen capture I have used the Lens Correction tool to correct the vertical perspective distortion caused when I shoot this picture of my nephew with the camera angled down to include his graduation cake.

Using Lens Correction I transform the perspective of this image in just a few seconds but it took my sister and her husband Joe a lifetime of persistent reinforcement to transform Robert into an Eagle Scout, Honor Student and nice young man.

R. J. I hope you work hard and enjoy college! Love You!!

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

To check locations and dates for this year’s Italian and other Location Workshops click here


The Watchman of Zion National Park – Southwest Photographic Workshop

The Watchman looking down on the Virgin River in Zion National Park is in the southwestern corner of Utah near the Nevada and Arizona borders and is one of the locations we will photograph during the Southwest workshops.

The Watchman look down on the Virgin River

The Watchman looks down on the Virgin River

To processed this image I using Topaz BW Effects 2 software.

The locations we will be photographing during the Southwest workshop have great names like the Watchman and Rattlesnake Canyon. When I hear someone say the Watchman I think of a protector of  this fertile  valley and the Virgin River that is the water source for this oasis in the desert in Zion National Park. Our National parks provides this protection to some of natures best photo opportunities and the time I spend there refreshes my spirit.

Topaz Clarity - The Watchman

Topaz Clarity – The Watchman

To process this image from the raw file I used Topaz Clarity

Raw image - The Watchman Zion National Park

Raw image – The Watchman Zion National Park

To check locations and dates for the Southwest and other Location Workshops click here

To save 15% on Topaz products click here


Valley of Fire, Sunset – November 8-14, 2013 Workshop

First stop for this Novembers workshop is the Valley of Fire about an hour north of Vegas. With some of most interesting  colored and textures sandstone in the southwest it is a great location to start this shoot.

Sunset near the Fire Wave  – Valley of Fire, Nevada

Valley of Fire processed with Topaz software

Valley of Fire processed with Topaz software

I used Topaz Labs software to process this image and in a few steps I was able to transform this image from an nice sunset image into a exception sunset. Often when I am on location the light and feel of the images cannot be completely captured by my cameras and  I find that by using Topaz I am able to convey what I saw and felt in the processed file for printing.

Valley of Fire sunset -  unprocessed image

Valley of Fire sunset – unprocessed image

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Natural Arch, Valley of Fire – Nov. 2013 Southwest Workshop

Natural Arch, Valley of Fire - Processed using Topaz Clarity

Natural Arch, Valley of Fire – Processed using Topaz Clarity

Topaz Software

Southwest Natural sandstone rocks are unable to withstand the blasting of strong winds and the slow dissolving away by rains of the cementing materials holding its sand grains together, the weakened rock allows an arch to form. Eventually they grow too large to support their own weight and nature will reclaimed these beautiful arches. For me they are some of the Southwest’s greatest treasures and I look forward  to  photograph them this November. We will spend the first two days of this November’s Southwest Photo Workshop Tour capturing this and other great images in the Valley of Fire.

Natural Arch, Valley of Fire - unprocessed image

Natural Arch, Valley of Fire – unprocessed image

To process this image of Natural Arch in Nevada’s Valley of Fire painted desert I started with Topaz Clarity Sunset II and then used Topazes Vignette in Lens Effect and then brought it back into Clarity and applied Interior Strong.

When I look at Natural Arch I see two Indians chiefs relaxing at the end of a day’s hunt and enjoying the moon before she sets for the night. The first chiefs head if on the left with a flat head with his finger that is the arch resting on his nose in thought. The second chief is the darker red bolder behind and to the right of the arch.


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